Learning Latin the Medieval Way

By |2020-03-21T17:27:41-05:00March 20th, 2020|Categories: Classical Education, Culture, Education, Language, Western Tradition|

Latin, as the primary historical language of erudition and learning in the West, is the sole gateway into the halls of Western thought and humanistic learning. Without the use of this language, we can hardly know ourselves, and certainly not the road that brought us to the modern day. “To read Latin and Greek [...]

The Three Conservative Burkes: Hayek, Strauss, and Kirk

By |2020-03-05T10:18:27-06:00March 5th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Politics, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Edmund Burke was the nexus among the classical, medieval, and modern worlds, and the best answer to contemporary ideology. It is worth considering the Burke of Friedrich Hayek, Leo Strauss, and Russell Kirk in order to fully understand his importance to the rise of conservatism in academia after World War II. The somewhat radical (relatively [...]

Liberal Education at the Naval Academy

By |2020-02-28T16:25:44-06:00February 28th, 2020|Categories: Classical Education, Culture, Education, Liberal Arts, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

The Naval Academy is regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, and many attend for that very reason. But what if the Academy’s curriculum does not reflect a true liberal arts education, but a radical distortion of it—a falsehood? The hour is here when midshipmen candidates of the Class [...]

The Hounds in Full Cry: Roger Scruton’s Conservatism

By |2020-02-17T16:49:05-06:00February 17th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Government, Politics, Roger Scruton, Senior Contributors, Western Tradition|

In almost every way, Sir Roger Scruton was a thorn in the side of modernity and post-modernity. With Burke, he fought a “forlorn but dignified resistance to the tides of history.” He sought a future in which the national loyalty would endure, holding things together, providing all of us with sources of hope. No [...]

Of What Value Is a Dead Language?

By |2020-01-09T14:58:16-06:00January 8th, 2020|Categories: Books, Culture, Education, Michael De Sapio, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

The prestige of studying classical languages like Latin and Greek is greatly eroded today. This is no mystery; but how did we get to this point? Linguist Nicholas Ostler, in his book Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin, chronicles how Latin remained the one constant during the growth of Western culture. The claims he [...]

Return of the Small Gods?

By |2019-11-16T21:29:54-06:00November 16th, 2019|Categories: Books, Civil Society, Conservatism, Dwight Longenecker, Relativism, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Rusty Reno’s recent book, Return of the Strong Gods is an excellent explanation of the roots of relativism. The short version is that two world wars left Western civilization with a huge societal case of post-traumatic stress disorder. With heads in hands, the thinkers concluded that we kill one another because of dogma. We say, [...]

The Permanence of Russell Kirk

By |2019-10-14T12:29:01-05:00October 7th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

With the phenomenal success of The Conservative Mind—selling over a million copies during the three decades after its initial release—Kirk worried that “conservatism” might prove to be a hollow answer for the post-war world. Afterall, he reasoned, conservatism must, by necessity, be highly subjective, centered around a specific time and place, even while embracing [...]

Russell Kirk Reconsidered

By |2019-10-12T14:19:30-05:00October 4th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, The Conservative Mind, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

Russell Kirk gave voice to a myriad of persons, personalities, and ideas circulating in the decade after the Second World War, just as the West was trying to understand what it stood for, rather than what it stood against. The latter was easy. Communism and fascism were evil. But, what exactly did the West stand [...]

Traditional Education & the Future of Europe

By |2019-10-02T15:25:41-05:00October 2nd, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Conservatism, Europe, Glenn Arbery, Liberal Arts, Senior Contributors, Western Tradition, Wyoming Catholic College|

Near the end of his recent book, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition (highly recommended), the English philosopher Roger Scruton makes a very interesting observation about what is possible in America but not in Europe. As he puts it, the burden of American conservatism has been to define the customs and traditions most [...]

“Reason, Faith, & the Struggle for Western Civilization”: Illuminating the Past & Present

By |2019-08-07T22:05:08-05:00August 7th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Faith, History, Philosophy, Pope Benedict XVI, Reason, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

It is a bright note of hope, set against the present daunting darkness, that shines throughout Samuel Gregg’s “Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization,” both illuminating the past and shedding much-needed light on the present situation. Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization, by Samuel Gregg (256 pages, Gateway Editions, 2019) [...]

Liberal Education: The Foundation and Preservation of a Free Society

By |2019-02-28T15:50:32-06:00February 27th, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Freedom, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Liberty, Tradition, Western Tradition, Wisdom|

In a time of economic uncertainty, liberal education holds out the promise of joy in learning, contentment in contemplating truth, and satisfaction in community. These things are available to all people, rich or poor. Liberal education and the free society have always been intimately connected. A liberal education, an education which prepares one for [...]

On Loving Definitions

By |2019-02-18T22:11:33-06:00February 18th, 2019|Categories: Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Education, Senior Contributors, Tradition, Western Tradition|

I first came across Russell Kirk’s belief that academics must serve as guardians of “the Word” in his groundbreaking but now sadly-neglected book, Academic Freedom: An Essay in Definition (1955). “The principle support to academic freedom, in the classical world, the medieval world, and the American educational tradition, has been the conviction, among scholars and [...]

Is Specialization Killing Culture?

By |2019-07-03T13:39:39-05:00January 25th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Civilization, Community, Culture, Michael De Sapio, Modernity, Permanent Things, Senior Contributors, The Imaginative Conservative, Truth, Western Civilization, Western Tradition|

If culture is simply a matter of private enthusiasms and hobbies, of small details and specialties, then what of a common culture? What about the collective project and shared sense of purpose that built Western civilization? “The expert takes a little subject for his province, and remains a provincial for the rest of his [...]